Man's Heart

G-d Takes Care of All [The Letters Series]

Jose 5 Comments

This week, I’m writing a few more letters to different people, whose names shall be removed from the post, but who nonetheless are amalgamations of real characters. I won’t be mincing words this week, and in these letters, I hope to address some issues I find in education as a whole through these letters. If need be, I’ll apologize later. Actually, I probably won’t.

P.S. – As a special note regarding this particular note: any immature or ridiculous comments concerning my relationships with my students will get rebuked. There’s a reason I left my last blogging environment, so let’s not take it there. Thanks.

Man's Heart

Man's Heart

Dear Student,

Tonight, I probably had one of my most humbling moments when your parent told me that the reason why you even came to school was me. At first, it took me aback because I’m always shy when it comes to these sorts of compliments. Your parent told me stories about how you gush when talking about me in school, how you show your father your math grades online after they start doubting your excellence, how you get embarrassed when you get low grades in his class, how, when you moved, you begged to stay in the school you were in because of me.

When I first thought about becoming a teacher, I knew I wouldn’t be perfect, but I tried my absolute best. Even to this day, I don’t have it as great as I’d like. You’re the good student, too. You’re one of the students I’ve relied on so thoroughly, one who actually does what’s asked without being submissive. You’ve grown so much academically and personally, and I believe in everything you do from here on out. I’ve spent more than the 45-90 minutes most teachers have spent with you because we’ve hung around after school, sometimes during lunch, on trips to the Old and New Stadium, through exam after exam.

Each instance gave me a chance to love what I do, and thus give so much of myself as the student body. While so many of us teachers believe in full detachment, and I see the value in that, when one teaches with all they’ve got, it’s HARD to not care at least a little bit. You need more than just the academic development. Much of your personal development comes from understanding that your teachers care about you, and the more your teachers care (with variation about how your teachers show that love), the more you respond in kind.

Your heartbreaks, your pain, your greatest moments, your aches, and your griefs, I’ve heard them all.

Even the time when I thought you’d move. I heard. I responded that I’d think about adopting you for a year just to keep you here. I was totally kidding and never told your mom, but in my heart-of-hearts, I totally believed I’d consider it. Hearing today that your mom heard about that and that’s why she opted to keep you in the school says a lot about my relationship with you. You could come to me for anything within my reach, and I’d make it happen.

I don’t always get to say this aloud but thank you for you. Thank you for allowing me into your life and letting me bring you more than just math. Thank you for the pride you take in this journey we’re taking until June. Thank you for being part of my G-d …

Mr. V, who had a hard time writing this without choking up …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Jose VilsonG-d Takes Care of All [The Letters Series]

Comments 5

  1. m

    That was awesome! I don’t know who had anything negative to say about your relationships with your students, but I’m totally on your side. Our kids need more people around who care about them and show it in genuine and healthy ways.

  2. C

    It makes me sad when I have to report on school closings and 50 student classrooms. Yay to awesome teachers. Shot out to 8th grade science teacher who tutored me in math.

  3. Post
    Author
    Jose

    Thank you all for your wonderful comments.

    M, I think it’s just that people get caught up in the ridiculousness of seeing a male teacher actually caring about any of his students and automatically connecting that with some sort of felonious and perverted act. It’s a little ridiculous if you ask me.

    C and mepsipax, we should all be so privileged to actually have teachers that care about us as students, on many levels. There’s certainly a lack of quality teachers and we can remedy that … if our society wished.

    Carrie, anytime. Anytime.

Leave a Reply